Thanksgiving 2018

This year my parents came to our house for Thanksgiving. We so enjoyed having them here. But before they got here on Tuesday,  Josh and the kids went to a Hornets game Monday evening. I watched them from the warmth and comfort of my home and spotted them on television.

Ruby and I made Aunt Marcy’s pumpkin bars since she wasn’t able to bring them and celebrate Thanksgiving with us. They were delicious!!!

We enjoyed baked potatoes and chili that first evening with my parents. The next day we smoked ribs and served potato salad and cole slaw and corn on the cob. I would have made a yummy salad, but the warnings about romaine lettuce had begun circulating, so I opted out of taking a chance on the salad.

Thanksgiving preparations began on Wednesday when I made a new recipe–Cranberry Relish. It was actually really good. But by far, the best thing on the table is sweet potato casserole. YUMMY!! And my kids always want an Apple Punch that a friend from Georgia shared with us one year, so that was a must! There was a slight debate on which dressing is best (my grandma’s or Josh’s grandma’s recipe). We just agreed to disagree, but if he has any hopes of eating his favorite, he best get the recipe written down and get to practicing.

Josh smoked a turkey this year and it was divine. I wish I had taken a better picture of the food because everything we soooooo pretty and delicious. The pies are gonna be able to stick around the house for another 24 hours and then they are going in to the garbage!!! I cannot have this stuff in the house and be trusted. It’s Thanksgiving DAY, not Thanksgiving month.

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Here are some other photos we took when Josh decided to bring in the Christmas tree from the carport.

Today we enjoyed a quiet morning, grabbed some lunch, watched some football, and now Josh, Mack and Ruby are at the movies. Molly and I went to ULTA at 7:00 this evening, which technically means this is my first year ever participating in Black Friday shopping! I have never been interested in getting out in that mess, and we obviously waited long enough that it just seemed like a regular shopping day. There were no crowds or long lines. Now we are safely back inside sitting by the fire and enjoying the quiet. That is my kind of Black Friday shopping!

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving with their family and friends. I know we did!

10 years of blogging

If I was paying close enough attention, I would have blogged three more times to get to 10 years AND 1,000 posts.  But as it is, I am at 10 years and 998 posts. Still a long time and a lot of words on this-here blog.

I knew ten years of blogging was approaching, but I don’t really know how to celebrate. The kids asked me how much money I have made blogging, and I told them exactly zero dollars. This started as a way to keep up with the funny stories from the crazy days with little kids. My parents and Josh’s parents loved reading the stories since they have never lived near us. And I am so thankful I finally started blogging because as we look back at some of the posts, there is no way I would naturally remember all of the funny stories.

This evening we decided we would “celebrate” by going back and choosing random posts to read together. It will be funny to read the silly stories and see the photos I have posted.

The blog continues to share some personal stories from the kids, though much less since the kids are at an age where they don’t really want the world to know details about their lives. Can’t blame them.  I share about homeschooling and good books I have read, as well as some devotional thoughts. I love words and writing, and I hope one day my love for words might culminate into something worth reading.

But for now, in this season of carting kids to and fro, schooling three very different kids every day, laundry, cooking and cleaning, supporting Josh, and trying to take care of myself, this space on the world wide web will have to suffice for me to play around with words. Thankful for ten years of memories recorded here.

 

Halloween {and football and Rolo}

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The Dawson kids and Noah came over to trick-or-treat. Julie, Josh, Summer and I handed out candy to all the Hulks and Harry Potters. Chubby WonderWoman was my favorite–she was so smart. How do I know she was smart? I could tell because  she purposely chose several Reese’s Cups for her candy basket, careful to skip over the KitKats and bubble gum.

The night before this, Mack played his last flag football game. It was the first game they lost, which was heartbreaking. But Mack played so well all season, and he loved every second of it. Here are a few photos and a video of some amazingly kind words from his coach.

We realize we haven’t exactly set Mack up for football greatness and scholarships since we home school, but I still know God has a perfect plan for Mack. When I am tempted to worry about his future, I am reminded to cast all of my cares on the Lord because He cares for me…and He cares for Mack even more than I care for Mack. And He withholds no good thing from His children. That’s awesome!

Lastly, little Rolo went to Social Pet today for an enrichment class and some grooming.  She has been super anxious and whiney in the car lately, which hasn’t been her normal until just a few weeks ago. Also, when I take her to pet stores she seems to be fine with other dogs UNTIL they get close to her. Then, she tries to nip at their faces so they will get away from her. It is super embarrassing. So today she had a great class. First she was alone and then they added a low-energy dog that played with her a little. Then, Bo, another enrichment little doggy came in to play. He is high-energy, and Rolo did great with him as long as he didn’t touch her. When he touched her or backed her in the corner, she would nip at him so he would give her some space. I don’t know what I think of that because I think it is ok if she knows her limits and expresses them, but….I wish she wouldn’t be so quick to need her space. ANYWAY, overall they said she did awesome all day and warmed up to the other dogs and played really well with them. We are planning to have her go five or six weeks in a row to keep her getting used to other dogs. She is totally exhausted when she comes home from her play days. Even now she is sleeping next to Molly in a chair. Such a sweet dog!

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It’s been a great week, and I am so glad it is almost Friday. We are ready for the weekend!!!

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“What do you want Me to do for you?” 

It’s a question Jesus asked more than once while His feet walked the streets of this broken world. And it is a question I have thought about often. I contemplate what I would reply to this question if Jesus asked me. I ask it in the depths of my heart and ask God to purify my desires, to bring clarity to dreams in my heart. And I write about some of those thoughts on the blog from time to time. 

In Mark 10:36 James and John are asked by Jesus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Their request was to sit on each side of Jesus in glory. And their request was not granted because in Jesus’ words, they did not know what they were asking. 

I am so grateful I can trust that God knows absolutely best what I need. the Bible says He withholds no good thing from me.

In Mark 10:51 Bartimaeus was asked by Jesus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He boldly says, “I want to regain my sight!”  And Jesus gave Him what He asked for, and Bartimaeus immediately followed Jesus. 

I am so grateful God is willing and able to give me what He knows I want.

So while I think it’s a perfectly fine question to ponder—“What do you want Me to do for you?”—I also think I have found my answer in this season and it is not what naturally came to mind along this journey.  I was considering some “big” things…daring to believe that maybe God has something “big” for me. Something tangible maybe or an assignment that would give me some focus, you know, one where I can make a list and check it off as I go and be sure I was doing what He wanted me to do and achieving some sort of earthly success or purpose…all for God, mind you. A-hem.

Last night I heard a little chorus that I had not heard before:

Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.

I want more of you God.

I want more of you God.

There it was. My answer to the question, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 

I want more of you God.

I also thought of Luke 5. The Lord bookmarked this story in my heart a few mornings back from my time in The Word. I kept thinking of the word “MORE” over and over again. I didn’t draw any straight lines or make any connections that morning or the next couple of days, but it was definitely rolling around in my head and heart. I was keeping alert and asking God to show me what He was wanting me to get from the story of Simon and his fellow fishermen.

See, Simon and his team had finished up fishing all night and were cleaning their nets, packing everything up when Jesus asked Simon to push out the boat in the water for Him and then to let down their nets. 

“Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”

“When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to sink.”

Wow. That must have been quite a load of fish! More fish than they had ever caught.

Here’s where you may think the fishermen decide to go back out and try again to get even more fish. 

But they didn’t. 

And they didn’t say, “Let’s write a book on how to catch fish because, obviously, we’re pretty good at this.”

And they didn’t say, “Let’s lead a seminar on how to catch fish. People will love to hear from us because, obviously, we’re pretty good at this.”

Verse 11 of Luke 10 says, “They left everything and followed Him.”

Essentially, they were also saying, WE WANT MORE OF YOU GOD. They didn’t want more success. They didn’t want more time to do what could be profitable to their earthly business. They left everything familiar, tangible and profitable to follow Jesus. 

They didn’t follow Him perfectly, and neither do I and neither do you. But do I recognize that anything good in my life, any success I may have, any peace in my heart, any purpose worth pursuing is ALL FROM HIM? I don’t have anything it takes. I am unqualified. But JESUS is able, has everything it takes to work in me and through me. He is qualified to do the work. Do I want more of Him? Or more of what the world calls success and what the world sees as profitable? God’s Kingdom is upside down in comparison to what our eyes see here on this earth. So, today I am telling God I want more of Him. I want to let down my nets into the deep waters of His Word and His Presence and be changed to be more like Him in a broken world that desperately needs to hear the Good News of Jesus. 

How about you? What do you want?

Work In Progress

This is my third fall here in Charlotte. The first one, in 2016, was a bit overwhelming, but I expected it to be so. New city, new house, new grocery store, new plumber (because the new house is really old), new doctors, new everything.

The next fall, in 2017, every day seemed more discouraging than the last. I thought I would have been farther along. I thought I would have a group of friends. I thought I would be plugged in at church somewhere. I thought I would know my way around better. In a nutshell, I was disappointed in my lack of progress in pretty much every single area. Floundering would be a good word to describe it.

I felt like a nobody. And that is not a good feeling.

I spent time in the Word and in prayer daily, reciting the truth of Whose I am. I repeated Philippians 1:6…except I would say, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” I was encouraged that God wasn’t finished with me and that He was still working in me and going to use me again. I was challenged to continue to follow Him and seek out His purpose for me here. But recently I was reading Philippians 1:6 and here is how the NAS version reads: “For I am confident on this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Paul was telling the Philippians that God began a good work in them at salvation and would continue working in them and on them and through them until Jesus comes back and all is made perfect again.

I was taking that verse and boiling it down to some personal promise that God was going to complete something in me here on earth for a specific purpose. That He started something in me and was going to bring it to completion. I wanted to figure out how to make my life important and purposeful on my own. “It” was maybe going back to school to learn and use a degree for Him. “It” might be writing a book one day after the kids are gone. “It” may be being a part of a mission organization in a significant way. But surely my “it” was in limbo during this season of new, this season of knowing few and being known by even fewer, this season of mothering and homeschooling. I mean, I can’t complete anything for long in motherhood. All that we do is undone….beds, clean clothes, meals, clean dishes, and more. That’s a whole ‘nother post.

“…that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

“It” is the good work of sanctification that He began in my life when He saved me. And He never stops doing that work. He will always be doing a work in my soul through every season of life. I’m not in a section of my life that doesn’t matter. He is being faithful and steadfast and working in me and on me and through me UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS. One day all will be made perfect and right. Until then, I rest in the fact that God’s good work is being perfected, and He won’t stop until Jesus comes back to restore everything to perfection.

Hannah Anderson wrote a chapter in a book, Identity Theft, that I am reading. It greatly encouraged me, so I will leave it here and maybe it will encourage you as well.

“In moments of difficulty, confusion and loss, God is stripping you of all the things you may reach out for instead of him. He is cutting and cleaning and crafting your life so it can shine the light of His glory. Do not be afraid when this happens. Don’t be afraid when the questions come and the things you once relied on don’t satisfy you any longer. Do not be afraid when He comes to relieve you of your idols of identity. Do not be afraid because a good and powerful God is at work. He is coming to reclaim His own, and he will not stop until you become your truest self–a woman whose life reflects the greatness of the glory of her God!” {Identity Theft, Hannah Anderson}

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Bob Goff!!

Last night we attended a fundraiser event for With Open Eyes, a ministry that helps advance the gospel by supplying motor bikes for pastors in Africa and India, as well as providing Biblical training for the pastors. It was an amazing evening hearing from Simon and Agnes who live in Africa and help lead many other pastors.

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We got dressed up, which is a rare occasion for us five.

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A highlight of the evening was listening to Bob Goff speak. What a unique person he is! He challenged us with a few thoughts. 1-What do you want?, 2- Are you willing to do what it takes to get it?, and 3-Can you use what you already have?

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{This is how he takes most photos with people. He told us to throw out the prom pictures and throw up your hands and smile! I love that.}

I was challenged and encouraged to keep wrestling around with the desires of my heart. Keep asking God to purify them and set them apart with great clarity and direction, and to keep stirring my heart to obedience. I often mistrust the things I really want…and rightfully so. I have wanted lots of different things over the course of my life that God did not intend for me. As Jen Pollock Michel says in regards to our desires, “…we aren’t easily satisfied by what God gives. We don’t easily surrender to God’s authority, and we are hell-bent on making a name for ourselves.” We tend to want life on our own terms. The truth of that reality in my life makes me pause long and hard when dreams are stirring in my soul. I want to go after God’s plans and purposes for me, I really do!! And yet I feel the weight of my own neediness and lacking, which makes me doubt that I can ever articulate to the God of heaven what I want. But I am resolved to keep seeking Him on the matters of my heart. God isn’t in a hurry. He is faithful and kind and patient. And He promises to finish the work He started in me! That is an amazing truth.